Hyundai’s sub-Genesis sports car future fading?

Hyundai’s sub-Genesis sports car future fading?

Rumors of a new sports car positioned below the Hyundai Genesis Coupe have been swirling for some time, but new reports out of the UK are casting doubt on the likelihood of eventual production.

Hyundai UK President & CEO Tony Whitehorn told AutoCar that a business case does not yet exist for the production of an entry-premium sports car.

“Not many people make money out of sports cars,” Whitehorn said. “The sports car market is shrinking dramatically, and even firms with heritage and a great product are struggling.”

Even Allan Rushforth, the former senior vice president of Hyundai’s European arm (and proponent of the premium sports car concept), was cautious about the idea. He once likened the positioning of the hypothetical new Hyundai to that of Audi’s TT, saying such cars “…create a huge demand when they’re new but then that dies off quickly. It’s about demographics, too. The buyers of the old [Tiburon] no longer want these cars.”

Instead, Rushforth hinted that Hyundai’s upcoming sports car could borrow a noticeable amount of design cues from the PassoCorto concept (pictured) that was presented at the Geneva Motor Show last March. Penned jointly by Hyundai and the IED design school in Turin, the show car took the form of a small, low-slung two-seater coupe powered by a mid-mounted four-cylinder engine.

Speculation ticked upward when Hyundai introduced the IED PassoCorto (“short wheelbase” in Italian) concept in Geneva last year. The concept showcased a mid-engine layout with a bi-turbo, 266hp 1.6-liter four nestled behind the driver. Overall length measures 161 inches with a 96.5-inch wheelbase. That splits the lengthwise difference between a current-generation Mazda MX-5 and Scion FR-S, but the Hyundai is both wider at 74 inches and shorter at 45.7 inches than the larger Scion.

Whitehorn said Hyundai’s product planners instead wish to focus on delivering variants of its existing vehicles with more performance.

Photos by Ronan Glon.

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